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Microb Inform Exp. 2012 Feb 9;2(1):3. doi: 10.1186/2042-5783-2-3.

Metagenomics - a guide from sampling to data analysis.

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School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences & Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.


Metagenomics applies a suite of genomic technologies and bioinformatics tools to directly access the genetic content of entire communities of organisms. The field of metagenomics has been responsible for substantial advances in microbial ecology, evolution, and diversity over the past 5 to 10 years, and many research laboratories are actively engaged in it now. With the growing numbers of activities also comes a plethora of methodological knowledge and expertise that should guide future developments in the field. This review summarizes the current opinions in metagenomics, and provides practical guidance and advice on sample processing, sequencing technology, assembly, binning, annotation, experimental design, statistical analysis, data storage, and data sharing. As more metagenomic datasets are generated, the availability of standardized procedures and shared data storage and analysis becomes increasingly important to ensure that output of individual projects can be assessed and compared.

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